Andrew Luck is quietly leading his team into playoff contention. It’s hard to imagine a number one overall pick doing anything “quietly,” but with the RGIII hype train being what it is, Luck has been doing his thing under the radar. People will start paying more attention after his eye-popping 433-yard, 2-TD effort against Miami. Luck has been solid all season, but now that his team is sitting at 5-3 (with a sparkling 4-1 home mark) and with teams like Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo and Kansas City on the dockett, the Colts should post at least nine dubs this season, putting Luck in position to lead the worst team of 2011 into the playoffs this season. The NFL hasn’t had a ROY race this tight in years.
Elsewhere, Pittsburgh sent a warning shot by dropping the Giants, 24-20. Playing the role of the bad guys in front of a Meadowlands crowd trying to bounce back Hurricane Sandy, the Steelers made just enough plays to pull off the win against one of the NFL’s best. Their defense (still, remarkably) amongst the NFL’s best, Pittsburgh will make it hard for Baltimore (who also won Sunday) to run away with the AFC North. As it always has been, the division will be a two-horse race.
— The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Doug Martin went all Al Bundy on the Raiders, rushing for 251 yards on his way to four touchdowns and a 42-32 win. I imagine that there are some extremely happy (and extremely pissed) fantasy owners as a result.
— Stop me if this sound familiar. Peyton Manning somehow threw two interceptions to Terrance Newman (WTF, bro?!), but use his three touchdowns to surpass Dan Marino for his 48th game winning drive. Otherwise known as the most all time.
— That replacement refs Monday night scandal seems so long ago. Aaron Rodgers tossed four touchdown as Green Bay moved to 6-3 following a 31-17 victory over the Cardinals. Remember when Arizona was 4-0?
— Those fans of smash mouth running probably wished Adrian Peterson vs. Marshawn Lynch would never end. The end result? Peterson – 17 carries, 182 yards and two touchdowns. Lynch – 26 carries, 124 yards and one touchdown. Oh yeah, the Seahawks won 30-20, improving to 5-4.
— The Bears laid the smack down on the Titans to the tune of 51-20. The Bears D did damage by forcing five turnovers. Fantasy owners who started Chris Johnson still got dividends as he turned in 141 yards on 16 carries.
— Experience won out in a meeting between last year’s rookie of the year, former Heisman winner Cam Newton, and this year’s front-runner for rookie of the year, the electrifying Robert Griffin III (who also happens to a former Heisman winner). The rook was game, but Newton’s Panthers finally ended their losing streak by torching the Skins’ much maligned defense on the ground and through the air.
— The Cowboys fell to 3-5 today, easing Whitt’s pain from the Skins’ embarrassing loss. Dez Bryant started, despite his hip injury, but only came away with one catch for fifteen yards. Despite a strong, turnover-free, performance from Tony Romo, the Falcons proved to be too much for Dallas and remain undefeated.
— Last, but not least, everyone needs to stop what they’re doing and watch this video of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano addressing his team following their victory over the Dolphins. Everyone’s got their own struggles and demons, but if this guy can look leukemia in the eye, spit in its face and keep moving forward, we all can. God bless, Chuck Pagano all surviving cancer fighters. This is one of the better sports-related videos you’ll ever see.